It had got to the point that they were not going to agree to Don coming home again.  Reason being that he has collapsed and become unconscious, and ended being ambulanced to hospital, no fewer than five times over the past six months – and every single time the collapse happened when he was sitting up in his wheelchair.   The last collapse was only a fortnight ago when he was home for lunch, and the nursing home were suggesting he’d better not visit home any more.

He has never had a collapse while in bed or in the recliner that he uses in the nursing home.  The only explanation seems to be that he can’t sit bolt upright for extended periods, any more.  Presumably the MS is making him unable to hold his head erect indefinitely, and so he slumps, and blocks off his airway.  I am no longer able to “transfer” him to a more comfortable chair, so he has to stay in the wheelchair all the time he is out.

I needed to trial something and see if it made a difference.  The Yellow Pages gave me a marvellous place called Hospital at Home, which sells or hires all sorts of equipment.

Here’s what I got for Don:

As you know, one effect of multiple sclerosis is frequent overwhelming fatigue, and the extended headrest makes it possible for Don to rest while he is in this chair.

Or even have a snooze while he is at home:

So we are now back to regular visits home again.

The (rental) house we are living in is perfect in many ways.  However, it has a carport which is not much more than a roof with a dirt floor. As we have had quite a lot of rain in the past eightr months, the driveway has washed away, and when I bring Don home via the wheelchair taxi it has become increasingly difficult to navigate. Tipping the wheelchair has become a frightening possiblilty.

So I enquired at the landscape people what I would need, and asked the owner of the property (via the agent) if I got two scoops of road base and a bag of cement, and got the young bloke who mows my lawn to spread it for me, if they would pay for the materials.  It came to $42. So they said yes, but then last week I was asked to send them a photo of the before and after – presumably in case I had squandered the $42 on something unrelated.

So here is the “after” photograph. Not very professional, I admit, but a vast improvement and at least I can get Don home without worrying about him falling out of the wheelchair!

Biggest problem (I am going to sound like a “girl” here!) was backing the trailer. I got to the landscape place all right, and got the materials, but when it came to backing it into the driveway, well I tell you, that trailer had a mind of its own. I tried to back it the logical way, I backed it the illogical way, and it always went the opposite to what I wanted.

In the end, a neighbour was putting out his garbage so I called, “Can you back a trailer?” and he just said laconically, “Yes, of course!” so he did it for me.  And from then it was simple to spread the stuff all over the driveway, hose it down, drive the car backwards and forwards a few times to firm it down, and it is fine for the wheelchair.

Why is this such a guy thing?  Are they born being able to back trailers, or what???